Job Retention Scheme (Including Zero Hours) Explained For Employees

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the Job Retention Scheme, we try to answer those queries here.

So, the Job Retention Scheme is the thing that gets you 80% of your pay that everyone has been talking about. There has been a lot of posts on Social Media asking about this and some rather lose interpretations being offered as advice. The following is taken from the government website and from advice from Employment Lawyers.

The Scheme

Just to quickly go over this again the Job Retention Scheme:

  • Is to reimburse employers up to 80% of wages paid to employees – only if they are not able to work due to there being no work available. Not a reduction in work, no work.
  • This is a maximum of £2,500 a month.
  • No news yet whether this is gross or net of tax, or other costs such as NIC and pension contributions.
  • This will be backdated to March 1st.
  • Available to employees on the payroll as of February 28th 2020.
  • Wages will be determined due to an exact period of time which is yet to be announced.

Am I eligible for the Job Retention Scheme?

If you fall into the following categories you certainly are:

  • You were on the PAYE payroll as of February 28th 2020
  • You are a ‘furloughed’ employee. Which means you are still employed by your company but not able to work due to the effects of the coronavirus (i.e. your venue has been forced to close)
  • Your employer has made you ‘furloughed’

That’s it. No-one else.

You are not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme if:

  • You were not on the PAYE payroll as of February 28th 2020
  • You are being paid to work during this period by your employer, even if your hours have been reduced you are still working therefore not eligible.

Zero-hours workers are only eligible if:

  • You were on your employers PAYE payroll on the 28th February 2020. The calculation of your 80% will be based on your average earnings over the last 12 weeks of employment.
  • If you were not on the PAYE as of 28th February 2020 then you are not entitled.
  • You are not still working for your employer.
  • Your employer has made you ‘furloughed’.

What Do I Do Now?

Whilst waiting for the scheme to come live and the money to be made available it is important that you make sure your employer has made you ‘furloughed’. Experts all say it is best for both parties to get this in writing. Due to the circumstances an email will suffice but make sure it confirms that you will be a furloughed employee, paid at least 80% of your wages and backdated until 1st March. If your employer is unsure how best to go about this send them here for tips and advice.

Frequently Asked Questions (according to Facebook)

When will I get paid?
This is the unknown, some of you will have been lucky enough to be getting paid during this period, others will be waiting for their employers to get access to the money from the scheme. There is no date as of yet when this will be paid but it is expected in the next week or two.

Will my employer make up the other 20%?
There is no legal obligation for the employer to make up the extra 20% and a vast majority will not be in a position to do so.

What if I am not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme?
There are other ways of getting money from the government, most notably the Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay (information on both can be found here). Many drinks companies are also working on ways to support you during this time, keep an eye on BarLifeUK for updates and join our Facebook page for the latest news.

I have taken a job with another employee which I am being paid for, am I still eligible for the Job Retention Scheme?
Well this one is a bit tricky. The general consensus is no, only those who are not working due to the coronavirus are eligible. However, some ‘experts’ have opined that we need people in other industries and therefore this may be allowed, basically no-one knows until the scheme is live but the weight of experts fall on the ‘no’ side.

Is it okay to do voluntary work?
Yes. 100% and well done if you are.

I was made redundant before the announcement of the scheme, what can I do?
This is very much up to your employers. There seems to be nothing to stop them withdrawing your employment termination and applying the scheme to you. This is their call however and there is no legal obligation to do so. You will probably have to return any redundancy payments or severance payments or have them taken from your first pay-check.

I am self-employed, what do I get?
An announcement is due today, Thursday 26th March, and we will be updating BarLifeUK as soon as the details are released.

I am still working part-time for my employer on reduced wages, can I insist on being furloughed?
No. It is your employer’s decision whether to furlough their employees or not. It would seem sensible, once the scheme is up and running that employers would furlough their employee’s but they legally do not have to.

Can I refuse to be furloughed?
Yes. The question would be why? You can insist that you are not furloughed and paid in full but this would give your employer many options to terminate your employment and whilst your contract may get you a short-term pay out it would seem a foolish move for all but a small handful. For more information on this we suggest calling the Citizens Advice Bureau or an Employment Lawyer.

How long will I get paid for?
Currently the scheme is guaranteed for 3 months but this is expected to be extended if the crisis continues.

I have been off work with coronavirus or in self-isolation am I still able to get it?
Yes, providing there would be no work for you if you were well and your employer is happy to make you a furloughed worker then there is no reason you can’t.